Sulphur Springs’ Offense Collides with Texas High’s Defense in Pivotal 14-4A Matchup
Sulphur Springs Wildcats (4-2, 1-0)
Texas High Tigers (5-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium at Grim Park, Texarkana
- Sulphur Springs: Greg Owens
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- Sulphur Springs: won 63-28 vs. Mount Pleasant
- Texas High: won 45-14 at Pine Tree
- Sulphur Springs: vs. Hallsville
- Texas High: at Mount Pleasant
- RB Willy Ivery, Sr., 5-8, 180 (92 carries, 751 yards, 17 TDs; 11 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD)
- QB Larry Pryor, Jr., 6-1, 185 (98 of 153, 1,335 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs; 74 carries, 465 yards, 6 TDs)
- WR Alex Burney, Sr. (25 catches, 338 yards, 4 TDs)
- WR Isaiah Lacy, Sr. (22 catches, 360 yards, 3 TDs)
- DL Dedric Smith, Sr. (54 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 fumble recovery)
- S Derick Ingram, Sr. (45 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery)
- DL Cain Cody, Soph. (36 tackles, 5 sacks)
- S Zach Spigner, Jr., 6-0, 180 (35 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
- WR Dillon Carpenter, Jr. (18 catches, 183 yards, 1 TD)
- WR C.J. Stephens, Jr. (14 catches, 160 yards, 1 TD)
- RB Tre Walker, Sr., 5-8, 170 (127 carries, 649 yards, 3 TDs)
- LB Anthony Rhone, Sr., 6-1, 210 (committed to SMU)
- QB/P Dakota Hunter, Sr., 5-11, 170 (65 of 88, 767 yards, 7 TDs, 6 INTs; 34.7 yards per punt)
- WR/CB Kevin Harris, Sr., 6-2, 170 (2 INTs)
- WR/DB Jarion Anderson, Jr., 5-9, 156 (43.3 yards per return on 3 KO returns)
- WR Taylor Jackson, Sr., 6-2, 191
- LB Aaron Faucette, Sr., 6-1, 178
- DE Wanya Jenkins, Sr., 6-3, 210
- DT Justin Lewis, Sr., 5-11, 270
- K Mantas Urienezius, Jr., 5-7, 150 (3 FGs, 10 PATs)
Just the facts
- Sulphur Springs won last year's meeting 45-25 at home en route to a 5-0 run through District 14-4A.
- Texas High is 14-10 vs. Sulphur Springs since 1947.
- Texas High won four meetings between 1947-90 before Sulphur Springs won ever year from 1991-96.
- Sulphur Springs averages 43.2 points per game and allows 38.7.
- Texas High averages 28.0 points per game and allows 11.2
- Sulphur Springs has averaged 61.0 points during its three-game winning streak.
- Sulphur Springs has won its last three games by an average of 27.0 points.
- Texas High held four of its first six opponents to eight or fewer points.
- Texas High has allowed more than 14 points once in its first six games (38-37 home loss to Tyler Lee on Sept. 21).
- Texas High has an average victory margin of 21.3 points during the Tigers' current three-game winning streak.
- Sulphur Springs senior running back Willy Ivery holds offers from Colorado State, New Mexico, North Texas, Texas State, and Toledo.
- Sulphur Springs junior quarterback Larry Pryor, who is being recruited as a safety, holds offers from Arkansas, Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas, and Texas Tech.
Key matchup: Sulphur Springs' offense vs. Texas High's defense. That may sound too general, but that's how good this matchup appears to be on paper.
Sulphur Springs has gradually improved as the season has progressed. The Wildcats' 61.0 points per game during their current three-game winning streak are proof.
The development of junior standout Larry Pryor as a safety-turned-quarterback has a lot to do with that. Pryor's 395.7 total yards per game have fueled the winning streak after he gained 204.3 yards per game during the Wildcats' 1-2 start.
But Willy Ivery deserves a lot of credit, too. He's recovered from an early-season ankle injury that slowed him down and forced him to miss a 34-14 win at Sherman on Sept. 6. In four games since his return, Ivery has run for 172.5 yards per game and totaled 17 touchdowns, 16 of which came on the ground.
Pryor, Ivery, and Sulphur Springs' high-powered offense face a Texas High defense yielding 7.0 points per game during a three-game winning streak of its own. SMU-bound linebacker Anthony Rhone anchors the Tiger defense, which has plenty of athletes in its back seven, including state-caliber track standout Kevin Harris at cornerback.
Texas High shut down Pine Tree's high-scoring offense last week. The Pirates entered the game averaging 35.6 points before the Tigers held them to 14.
Don't be surprised: Tempo has a huge influence on the outcome of this game.
Sulphur Springs will undoubtedly want to cram as many snaps into as little time as possible with its so-called "NASCAR" spread offense. Texas High, which runs the ball better than it throws, will hope to sustain drives and keep the ball away from Sulphur Springs' offense.
The winner of Friday night's game is the clear favorite for the District 14-4A championship. Home-field advantage could be a factor, but Sulphur Springs is 3-0 on the road and Texas High's only loss came at Tiger Stadium, albeit by one point to Class 5A Tyler Lee.
Will Pryor, Ivery, and Sulphur Springs' experienced offensive line get the best of Rhone, Harris, and the Texas High defense? Discovering the answer to that question should make for some great entertainment for fans of both teams come Friday evening.